My fellow Fellows, Staff Members of Atlas Atlas Corps and Invitees.
My name is Diego Reyes and I am an Atlas Corps Fellow Class 26 from Mexico City serving at Good Will Industries. My social issues are social entrepreneurship and youth employability and I cannot express the honor it is for me to stand in front of you today.
Nothing short of extraordinary is this group of people and we have Atlas Corps to thank for bringing us together.
We represent social change in the world. We are the Atlas Corps Fellows of Class 26.
In that sense, I would like to talk about the sense of community.
It was during my path in business school studies that I learned how to identify a strong community, how to enhance it and how to sustain it. I lived stressed every single day about having the best grades and eventually the best transcript for employers to see and be amazed, it took a huge toll on me both physically and emotionally. It was at the height of my stress that I had to take some days off work and school because of a burnout and my boss at the time –an MBA herself too – told me in the most soothing way that the most important asset of the program was definitely not the grades in Finance and Strategy but enriching your skill set with the value of the people I choose; their input would take me to better positions, their cognitive processes would give me ideas of entrepreneurship and most importantly, they would be a wholesome part of the growth I looked for in a professional or graduate program. This cannot be truer in this moment, FDR in the context D-Day and choosing his allies said he wasn’t the smartest fellow in the world, but he could sure pick smart colleagues. Being here and standing in front of you make those words ring over and over in my head, and finding this extraordinary community was and still remains the main factor in my decision to join the Atlas Corps Fellowship. It’s about what can be achieved by us, together — through small victories and comradery.
Over the past few days, I have been overwhelmed by the profoundness, reach and impact in fellow’s efforts all over the world addressing diverse social issues from their own trenches.
Among our ranks, a strong woman declared in this room that she will one day become the president of Palestine, a brilliant female engineer tackles climate change with clean energy while challenging a male-dominated industry in Tunisia, a savvy LGBT fighter resists a repressive regime in Turkey, an extraordinarily conscious girl tackles HIV spread in Zambia, the list goes on of the fellows issues that express their interests and passions with no doubt in their mind and no tremble in their voices that they will indeed drive change on their own fronts.
We represent the social change in the world. We are the Atlas Corps Fellows of Class 26.
Finally, as active and committed members of society, we acknowledge that we live terrifying and interesting times and we will go down in history for what we make out of these times, so it is essential that we choose smartly, plan precisely and execute flawlessly. There is no doubt in my mind that we will overcome.
These are challenging times in a polarized country in major issues which will, of course, be hard yet definitely a development platform for all. If there is one thing I would invite to embrace is a foundational value that people in this country view failure as the best strategy but not trying is completely unacceptable.
To the Atlas Corps team, I thank you and applaud your efforts in making the world a better place.
To the Atlas Corps Fellows, I salute you. You have my absolute respect, and you can count on my friendship and loyalty.Thank you